As young women, we face the age-old question which has plagued females for centuries; “how can I look good and feel great, without spending the big bucks?” The past few years have offered what appears to be a solid answer to this age-old question. And it goes by the name of Fast Fashion. On the surface, popular brands like Shein, Romwe, and Boohoo don’t seem so bad. They’re always up to date on current trends, they have every style in every color you could imagine, and most importantly, they sell their clothing at the cheapest price possible. What’s so bad about that, right? Wrong. You’ve probably heard the negative claims against the fast fashion industry. But have you ever stopped to consider what exactly makes it so unethical? Here are just a few of the main reasons you should ditch fast fashion for good.
Why it’s fast
It wasn’t until a recent conversation in my Intro to Sociology class that I understood what made fast fashion “so fast.” The fast fashion industry creates and produces its products in alignment with the most popular styles of today in the fastest and cheapest way possible. In doing so, they undercut the larger brands, which actually take the time to carefully design, style, and manufacture their products so that they have the best chance of selling once they hit the racks. Because fast fashion brands have styles available to the public quicker and cheaper than traditional clothing stores, many have flocked to fast fashion for convenience and price.
Why it’s so cheap
Many brands are able to produce their clothing so inexpensively because they outsource their manufacturing sites to places where individuals will work for low wages in environments that are less than ideal. While it has raised some controversy, many fast fashion companies keep the how and where of their manufacturing on the down-low. In hiding this information from the public and their customers, fast fashion companies continue to fly under the radar without answering questions as to the labor and ethics of their company.
Why it’s bad for the environment
How often have you seen someone throw away clothing simply because it has gone out of style? Some individuals throw away pounds of clothing every year, contributing even more waste to landfills. The environmental impact of fast fashion doesn’t end there. The production of synthetic fibers can require over 100 million tons of coal and more than 1 trillion gallons of water. Excessive use of coal and water has a significant negative impact on the environment and global warming. In addition, when fibers are being made, machines are producing greenhouse gases that are harmful to the ozone layer.
Why it’s not worth it
A popular excuse for indulging in fast fashion purchases is the cheap prices for trendy clothing. As college women with the burden of student loans and living expenses, it’s understandable that you may be “ballin’ on a budget.” But how much are you actually saving? Whether or not you realize it, those 5 and 10 dollar purchases can add up quickly. With the poor quality nature of fast fashion pieces, those stitches may not hold up for as long as you would hope, leading to the additional price of even more clothing.
In conclusion, though it may not appear to be so harmful at first, the cons of fast fashion undoubtedly outweigh the pros. Between undercutting higher quality brands, unethical labor, and the environmental impact, and the deceptive nature of the price tags, fast fashion is not worth your time. Instead, I recommend checking out thrift stores, supporting local small businesses, or shopping second-hand in-person or online. Not only will you continue to shine in your new fashion finds, but you will feel great knowing it didn’t come with an extra unethical cost.